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How Western Australia's first High Pressure Processing facility will help overcome fruit fly exp

The original article can be found by clicking here

Western Australia and Ireland have few things in common,but one is we both have the first High Pressure Processing facility in both regions.

How can we benefit from HPP? Please read on to find out.

Western Australia's first High Pressure Processing facility

The export company behind Western Australia's first High Pressure Processing facility says the technology will allow fruit growers to enter markets currently closed under fruit fly bans.

High Pressure Processing (HPP) uses a method of cold pasteurisation to kill bacteria and preserve food.

A HPP facility processes fresh produce after it has been sealed and packaged by applying water pressure so great that it is a similar pressure to subjecting food to an ocean depth of 60 kilometres.

Jennie Franceschi, marketing director of Advance Packing and Marketing Services and the Fresh Produce Alliance, has ordered the HPP equipment from Spain, and it is set to arrive in October 2015.

Advance Packing and Marketing Services is also set to install a facility that can process individually quick frozen (IQF) products.

Ms Franceschi, from Manjimup in south-west WA, said she began looking into HPP and IQF a few years ago as a means to value-add.

She said the "booming" WA avocado industry and broader horticultural industry would provide a steady processing supply.

"We know we have to deal with a lot more product [in the region]," she said.

"So now we really need to ensure ourselves going forward, against market failure."

Ms Franceschi said HPP products would give her market access to countries where she currently cannot send fresh fruit.

She said an HPP facility could process fruit in such a way that it was very close to a fresh product, but was sterile, which would give fruit growers access to export markets that are currently closed under Mediterranean fruit fly (Medfly) bans.

"Thailand was a country that as an export company was 25 per cent of our business that we lost, basically because of fruit fly," she said.

"So there's a number of markets that are open markets that we can get into, but there's a lot of other profitable markets that we can't access because of fruit fly."

HPP can be used to process sliced, diced, juiced or pureed fruit and vegetables, ready-made salads, meat, seafood and dairy products, and even natural cosmetic and pharmaceutical products as well.

Ms Franceschi said she had had a lot of demand for HPP and IQF products out of Japan.

But she said she was seeking input from local growers as to how they would use the facility for their produce.

"Our key thing is utilising waste," she said.

"There are plenty of industries that are at 30, 40 or 50 per cent [waste].

"To be able to give a grower a return on investment on that product means you can make them more profitable."

Ms Franceschi said her aim was to use the processing infrastructure to get better value for growers across the region.

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